Buying a New Construction Home in Carlsbad
Things to Know Before and at Closing
Buying a new construction home in Carlsbad is different in a number of ways from a resale purchase.
If you are interested in a new build, be sure to read this article, before you embark on your home search for a new home, so you fully understand buyer representation and other issues that are different from a resale purchase.
Let’s assume you have considered all the issues and decide a new build is right for you. Hopefully you’ve enlisted the help of a Realtor who knows the local market, and the issues associated with buying in a new home community.
You signed all the paperwork (oh, yes, there is a lot and it’s different from the standard California paperwork used for resale residential properties)
The deposit was paid
Construction is moving along
You visited the design center to pick your upgrades and options (bear in mind that what you see in those beautiful model homes is not necessarily what comes with the base price of the home you chose)
You paid for your upgrades and options
and before you know it (well, hopefully…delays can happen), you will be ready for closing.
As with resales there are important documents for you to sign for escrow and title, and you will need to submit your funds (mortgage if any; the balance of your down-payment and closing costs) before the day of closing.
Here are some important things to know in this final stage of your transaction - your new home closing:
1. When will I get my keys?
In my experience, this happens in the same way as with resales. Once closing has happened and the deed has recorded you will be notified you are “on record” or "we are confirmed." That means you are now the new owners and can pick up your keys.
The time of this notification on the day of closing can vary depending on how busy the San Diego County records office is, and sometimes can be near the end of the business day - so you can't arrange for your movers for the morning of closing day!
You will want to find out what to do about getting your keys from the builder’s rep (your buyer agent can help here, too) so you can move in; ask about this before closing happens so you know what to do and when.
Find out if you will get a mail box key or if that has to be obtained from the HOA, and of course find out where your mail box is (it might not be by your new home). Cluster mail boxes are common in planned communities and subdivisions here rather than having individual mailboxes at each house.
By the way don’t forget to set up your mail forwarding in advance of your move-in date.
If the community has a club house and/or pool, find out if you get a key or fob from the builder’s rep after closing or do you need to request that from the HOA?
Be sure to ask about the need for guest passes for parking, too.
2. Starting up Your Utilities
As with resales you will need to set up new accounts for your utilities (e.g., gas, electric, trash, sewer, water, cable/Internet) to begin once you are the owner; the new home rep will provide you with the information you need to do this. Here in Carlsbad water, sewer and trash are all through one office which makes that easy.
This should be done in advance of closing so there is a seamless transfer of services at closing from the builder’s account to yours. This is pretty easy to do but don’t put it off until the last minute.
If you are buying a condo or town home it’s possible some services may be included with your HOA fee (e.g., sewer, water) and not separately metered, and you will not have to set up those accounts personally. This will depend on the community – you should find this out early on in the due diligence process to learn what your HOA fee covers.
You may need to set up a separate appointment if you want a security system installed, as well as installing your Internet/Cable service (check online to find out what service is available in your area). Bear in mind these cannot be done until you are the new owner so plan your time accordingly.
3. Your New Address
Having a new address brings up several important issues. First, you want to know what it is.
Sounds obvious, I know, but new homes are often identified by lot #s and you will want to know the actual street address for your utilities, deliveries, mail forwarding, and movers. This should be provided to you during the transaction since the deed will need to be recorded with the County of San Diego with an actual street address.
If the community is still under construction check to see if there are street signs in place (likely there are); be aware it may take time for new streets to show up in Google Maps and on GPS systems. Siri might not know the street yet when asked!
Someone trying to find your new home may have problems if there are no street signs so be sure you know how to get there and can provide directions as needed.
And check to see if there are some streets that are not finished, or are blocked off due to construction. The shortest route to your new home may not be accessible right away.
4. Landscaping Planning
With most new homes I have run across (other than the sale of a model home) the new owner needs to complete the landscaping in the backyard - when you buy a new home you will only get dirt in the back, but front landscaping may be part of the purchase. You may or may not have to maintain it depending on the HOA you are in, and may not be able to make any changes to plantings without HOA approval.
Landscaping plans for the backyard must be approved by an architectural committee and completed within a certain period of time (commonly 9 – 12 months, and it varies by community). You should start this process early since it can take time.
Finding out about the landscapping is an important part of your due diligence before you make a purchase in a new home community in Carlsbad so you know what is required, and consider the additional costs for improving your backyard.
Working with a buyer agent in your new home purchase will help with many questions. While the process of dealing with a new home builder may be somewhat different from a resale, there are basic questions and issues you should be aware of as a buyer, from start to finish, and the right agent can be your advocate and remind you of things you might not think about plus watch out for your best interests.
Please reach out to me at (760) 840-1360 if I can answer any questions. I am happy you guide you through the purchase of a new home or a resale in Carlsbad.